Now that the signing deadline for the 2011 amateur draft picks has come and gone, let’s take a look at a few different ways these players could impact you fantasy team, either this season or down the line for keeper and dynasty formats.
When it comes to projecting a potential five-tool stud, Starling stands above all the 2011 draftees. Said to be the best athlete in the draft, Starling projects to hit for both power and AVG to go along with the type of speed that conjures up Matt Kemp type of potential. He has a long way to go, but dynasty league GMs willing to wait should be rewarded handsomely.
Homerable mention: Anthony Rendon, 2B/3B, Nationals
This one is a fairly obvious choice. The Pirates had their pick of the litter, selecting first overall in June, and they chose Cole, who’s fastball sits in the mid-90s and touches 100 MPH. Not only can Cole bring the heat, but he has a nasty changeup that has been said to be big-league worthy already. He’s also a great athlete that should remain durable and consistent down the road.
Fastest bat to the big leagues: Anthony Rendon, 2B/3B, Nationals
Elite college bats have a faster path to the show and, despite an injury plagued senior season, Rendon is such a bat. Once his shoulder is 100 percent healthy, he should pick up where he left off his junior year, when he hit for both AVG and power while displaying outstanding plate discipline. With Ryan Zimmerman entrenched at third base for the Nats, Rendon will likely see a move to second as a professional.
Honorable mention: Mikie Mahtook, OF, Rays
Fastest arm to the big leagues: Trevor Bauer, SP, Diamondbacks
Having signed early, Bauer has already appeared at single-A and double-A this season and has a shot to get a big league call in September. Due to his large workload for UCLA in the spring, the D-Backs have monitored his innings and would likely only use him out of the bullpen if they do decide to add him to the roster this season.
Honorable mention: Danny Hultzen, SP, Mariners
Best long-term positional impact: Blake Swihart, C, Red Sox
When we talk in terms of fantasy baseball, positional scarcity is always a key point to any discussion. While Swihart has been moved around the field a bit, he should be able to refine his skills behind the plate enough to become an offensive oriented catcher down the road, which has never been an issue for the Red Sox as an organization. He has a simple yet powerful swing from both sides of the plate and could become a top 10 fantasy catcher with upside to crack a top five ranking.
Honorable mention: Anthony Rendon, 2B/3B, Nationals
Best potential home run threat: C.J. Cron, 1B, Angels
While many college players struggled to adjust to the new, less potent college bats, Cron continued to hit for power and plenty of it. He’s had some injury issues in the past and is probably a 1B-only option, if not a DH-only option long-term, but he may have been the one 30-plus home run ready bat in the 2011 draft. The Angels stuck him in rookie ball, for some reason, where he absolutely mashed, as should have been expected, but a knee injury may have put his 2011 season on the shelf.
Honorable mention: Javier Baez, 3B, Cubs
Best potential stolen base threat: Cory Spangenberg, 2B, Padres
Rated as a 70 runner on the 20-80 scouting scale, Spangenberg already has 16 stolen bases in 52 games between low-A and a-ball this season. The Padres have been working him at second base, though some believe that he may not have the glove to play the infield in the big leagues. No matter where he ends up, he has the chance to be a 30-plus stolen base threat annually.